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Top Paying Jobs According to the US Government

By Edited May 26, 2014 2 4

Top Paying Jobs

Do you feel your career is more like a “nine-to-five” job in a “rat race” with little or no reward? Do you wish you could seek a different position or even another profession but you’re afraid to make any moves in this sluggish economy? You are not alone! A number of people are stuck in “dead-end” jobs but they are doing something about it. Many are going back to school and obtaining the necessary education to secure the job of their dreams.  

What's your dream job? If you’re not sure, but you know you’re not doing it now, take a look at the following list of the top paying careers in each of the 22 US Major Occupational Groups according to the United States Department of Labor Statistics. If you don’t see an occupation that interests you, you can see a list of the 5 top paying careers in each of the 22 groups in the article “The 5 Top Paying Careers in Each of the US Major Occupational Groups.”

Top Paying Jobs According to the US Government

Chief Executives

With an average salary of $167,280 per year; A Chief Executive may determine and formulate policies and provide the overall direction of companies or private and public sector organizations within the guidelines set up by a board of directors or similar governing body. Plan, direct, or coordinate operational activities at the highest level of management with the help of subordinate executives and staff managers.

Personal Financial Advisors

Averaging $94,180 per year; a Personal Financial Advisor may do any or all of the following job duties; advise clients on financial plans utilizing knowledge of tax and investment strategies, securities, insurance, pension plans, and real estate. Duties include assessing clients' assets, liabilities, cash flow, insurance coverage, tax status, and financial objectives to establish investment strategies.

Computer and Information Scientists, Research

A Computer and Information Research Scientist may earn an average of $105,370 per year. The job duties would include research into fundamental computer and information science as theorists, designers, or inventors. Solve or develop solutions to problems in the field of computer hardware and software.

Petroleum Engineers

With an average salary of $119,960, Petroleum Engineers devise methods to improve oil and gas well production and determine the need for new or modified tool designs. Oversee drilling and offer technical advice to achieve economical and satisfactory progress.


Physicists earn an average yearly salary of $111,250; their job duties include conducting research into the phases of physical phenomena, develop theories and laws on the basis of observation and experiments, and devise methods to apply laws and theories to industry and other fields.

Educational, Vocational, and School Counselors

These professionals counsel individuals and provide group educational and vocational guidance services. Their estimated average salary is $55,030


Lawyers represent clients in criminal and civil litigation and other legal proceedings, draw up legal documents, and manage or advise clients on legal transactions. May specialize in a single area or may practice broadly in many areas of law. The average estimated yearly salary of a Lawyer is $129,020.

Law Teachers, Postsecondary

The average salary for Law Teachers, Postsecondary is estimated to be at $109,150. These individuals teach courses in law which includes both teachers primarily engaged in teaching and those who do a combination of both teaching and research.

Art Directors

With an average salary of $91,520; Art Directors formulate design concepts and presentation approaches, and direct workers engaged in art work, layout design, and copy writing for visual communications media, such as magazines, books, newspapers, and packaging.


Surgeons treat diseases, injuries, and deformities by invasive methods, such as manual manipulation or by using instruments and appliances. The average salary for a Surgeon is estimated at $219,770.

Occupational Therapist Assistants

The average salary for an Occupational Therapist Assistant is $50,830. The job duties consist of providing occupational therapy treatments and procedures. They may, in accordance with State laws, assist in development of treatment plans; carry out routine functions, direct activity programs, and document the progress of treatments. Generally requires formal training.

First-Line Supervisors/Managers of Police and Detectives

These professionals supervise and coordinate activities of the members of a police force, and the average estimated salary is $78,580

Chefs and Head Cooks

The job duties include the direction and preparation, seasoning, and cooking of salads, soups, fish, meats, vegetables, desserts, or other foods. They may also plan and price menu items, order supplies, and keep records and accounts. Employees may participate in cooking. The average estimated salary of Chefs and Head Cooks is $44,240.

Gaming Supervisors

A Gaming Supervisors average yearly salary is estimated at $48,920; job duties include supervision of gaming operations and personnel in an assigned area. Circulate among tables and observe operations. Ensure that stations and games are covered for each shift. May explain and interpret operating rules of house to patrons. May plan and organize activities and create friendly atmosphere for guests in hotels/casinos. Gaming Supervisors may adjust service complaints, this excludes Slot Key Persons.

Securities, Commodities, and Financial Services Sales Agents

With an average estimated yearly salary of $91,390; these professionals buy and sell securities in investment and trading firms, or call upon businesses and individuals to sell financial services. Provide financial services, such as loan, tax, and securities counseling. Employees may advise securities customers about such things as stocks, bonds, and market conditions.

First-Line Supervisors/Managers of Office and Administrative Support Workers

These individuals supervise and coordinate the activities of clerical and administrative support workers; and their average yearly salary is $49,990.

First-Line Supervisors/Managers of Farming, Fishing, and Forestry Workers

With an average estimated salary of $43,720; their job duties include the direct supervision and coordination of the activities in agricultural, forestry, aquaculture, and related workers. This excludes "First-Line Supervisors/Managers of Landscaping, Lawn Service, and Grounds keeping Workers"

Elevator Installers and Repairers

The job duties include assemble, install, repair, or maintain electric or hydraulic freight or passenger elevators, escalators, or dumbwaiters. The average yearly salary of Elevator Installers and Repairers is $67,950.

Electrical and Electronics Repairers, Powerhouse, Substation, and Relay

The job duties include inspect, test, repair, or maintain electrical equipment in generating stations, substations, and in-service relays; the average yearly salary is $61,700.

Nuclear Power Reactor Operators

With an estimated yearly salary of $74,180; these professionals are required to control nuclear reactors.

Airline Pilots, Copilots, and Flight Engineers

These professional pilot and navigate the flight of multi-engine aircraft in regularly scheduled service for the transport of passengers and cargo. Requires Federal Air Transport rating and certification in specific aircraft type used. Include aircraft instructors with similar certification. The estimated yearly salary for Airline Pilots, Copilots, and Flight Engineers is $117,060.

Information Source

The preceding information was obtained through the United States Government, Bureau of Labor Statistics website. It is statistical in nature and not meant to be any type of promise or guarantee of any kind, and is subject to change.

Source - The Bureau of Labor Statistics: Copyright Information: “The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) is a Federal government agency and everything that we publish, both in hard copy and electronically, is in the public domain, except for previously copyrighted photographs and illustrations. You are free to use our public domain material without specific permission, although we do ask that you cite the Bureau of Labor Statistics as the source.”

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Oct 24, 2011 7:37pm
It is always interesting to see what people are paid in different fields. I always love it when Parade Magazine prints their annual list of what people earn! Fascinating.
Oct 25, 2011 2:53pm
Thanks Deb!
Oct 25, 2011 4:33pm
Interesting article I'm sure many job seekers and students will find helpful. It would be interesting to rate the stress levels relative to the jobs you listed. I'd hazard to guess they're pretty high for a good number of the jobs you've listed!
Oct 26, 2011 7:04pm
Wow, would not expect that much for Petroleum Engineers. Good info.
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